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Shun caste divide, put India first, says RSS chief at Bihar yajna attended by 1 cr devotees

At a function organised to mark the 1,000th birth anniversary of Swami Ramanujacharya, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad batted for a Ram temple at Ayodhya while CM Nitish Kumar was praised for his social reforms.

india Updated: Oct 04, 2017 21:07 IST
Subhash Pathak & Prashant Ranjan
Subhash Pathak & Prashant Ranjan
Hindustan Times, Ara
RSS chief,Mohan Bhagwat,Ara function
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat speaking at a religious congregation near Ara (Bihar) on Wednesday. (Devraj Ojha/HT photo)

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat, on Wednesday, exhorted the people to rise above the backward-forward caste divide and embrace the true Indian philosophy bathed in egalitarianism.

“There is God (Narayan) within each one of us and the Indian spiritual tradition has answers for all the problems we face today,” he said, exhorting the people to look within themselves to look for solace that comes from contentment, instead of hankering after material comforts.

Bhagwat said it was time people put India first and rose above narrow confines of ‘unch’ and ‘neech’ to contribute to real progress. “We all are sons of Bharat Mata, followers of one culture and religion that advocate for welfare of one and all,” he underlined.

The RSS chief’s message was clearly of Hindu unity and consolidation. It assumed more significance in the context of his call for a review of the job reservation policy ahead of the November 2015 Bihar assembly poll, which was exploited in the poll by the BJP’s rivals.

The setting was also apt as Bhagwat was speaking at Swami Ramanujacharya Shahashtrabdi (1,000 years of birth) Mahayajna near Chandwa ( Ara) in south central Bihar, around 50 km west of state capital, Patna.

Bhagwat’s message came at a function attended by chief minister Nitish Kumar, who shared a stage for the first time with the RSS chief since Kumar’s JD (U) jettisoned the ‘grand alliance’ and formed a new government with the BJP last July and subsequently rejoined the NDA.

The drive for a Ram temple at Ayodhya came in for a mention at the function by Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who was also present.

Swami Ramanujacharya headed a sect from the Bhakti tradition and its saints were known for their selfless service for welfare of the society. Over 1 crore devotees are estimated to have attended the yajgna over the past five days.

“Always listen to your inner-self and think better for others,” he said, while calling upon the people to follow the path shown by the great saints, who followed the religion of welfare of the humanity.

The function proved a happy outing for CM Kumar as his social reforms initiatives – mainly his drives against prohibition, dowry and child marriage, drew a pat from the saints assembled here for the yajna, including Lakshmi Prapanna Jiyar Swami.

Overwhelmed, Kumar, who arrived at the mahayajna venue about 3 hours ahead the RSS chief’s visit, said the initiatives to curb dowry and child marriage would send a message across the country and it would have its positive impacts on other states also.

Apart from physical development, the CM said, the government would be insisting on ushering in qualitative improvements in the fields of education, health and social development.

Many saints, belonging to various peeths of Swami Ramanujacharya tradition, urged the political leaders present to help set up a university to study the philosophy of Swami Ramanujacharya.

Citing evidence produced before court in support of building Ram temple in Ayodhya, Union law minister Prasad hoped the case would be won in the apex court and the way for building a massive temple at the disputed site would be cleared soon.

Prasad said his confidence emanated from the evidence that he had presented before the court as an advocate of Ram Lalla side.

Former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi, road construction minister Nand Kishore Yadav, industries minister Jai Kumar Singh and former chief election commissioner N Gopalaswami also addressed the gathering, in between the sermons of great saints.

Mandaps numbering 1,045 have been raised at the Mahayajna campus spead over 180 lakh square metres. Over 1,100 dharmacharyas, 11,000 acharyas and over 1 crore devotees have participated in the programme since it commenced on September 30.

Over 2000 police personnel and 25,000 volunteers (including 1,000 women) have been deployed for the yajna. Watch towers numbering 20 and 100 CCTV cameras have been put in place for security. Around 30,000 cooks have been put to service to feed the participants.

First Published: Oct 04, 2017 21:07 IST